Federal Ministers Slam Alberta’s New Transgender Policies as Dangerous and Discriminatory

Alberta’s new policies on transgender youth have sparked outrage and condemnation from federal ministers, who say they are putting children’s lives at risk and violating their human rights. The policies, announced by Premier Danielle Smith on Wednesday, include banning gender-affirming medical treatments for minors under certain ages and requiring parental consent for name and pronoun changes at school.

Transgender Policies
Transgender Policies

Alberta’s New Policies on Transgender Youth

In a video posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Smith said her government is introducing new policies to protect children from “prematurely encouraging or enabling” them to alter their biology or natural growth. The policies include:

  • Banning all top and bottom surgeries for minors, as well as puberty blockers and hormone therapy for children under 16;
  • Requiring parental consent for students 15 and under who want to change their name or pronouns at school, and notifying parents of students 16 and 17 who do so;
  • Creating biological female-only sports leagues and restricting transgender females from competing in them;
  • Requiring parental consent for students to attend sexual education in schools.

Smith said the policies are based on consultations with her United Conservative Party caucus and experts, and that they are in line with the majority of Albertans’ views. She also said the policies are not intended to discriminate against transgender youth, but to protect them from harm and regret.

Federal Ministers’ Criticism of Alberta’s New Policies

However, federal ministers have strongly criticized Alberta’s new policies, saying they are harmful, discriminatory, and unconstitutional. Health Minister Mark Holland said he is “deeply disturbed” by Smith’s announcement, and that he plans to meet with Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange to find a solution.

Holland said the policies are putting children’s lives at risk, as one of the main reasons for youth suicide is the questions and apprehensions around their sexual identity. He also said the policies are playing politics with children’s lives, and that he thought Canada had moved past this.

Justice Minister Arif Virani said he is waiting to see Alberta’s legislation before deciding if the federal government will challenge it in court. He said the policies are targeting and demonizing a small minority of children for political purposes, and that they are violating their human rights and dignity.

Virani said he is a father and that parents should be able to have conversations with their children about their identity. He also said the federal government will continue to support and protect transgender youth across the country.

The Reaction and Response of Transgender Advocates and Experts

Transgender advocates and experts have also denounced Alberta’s new policies, saying they are based on misinformation, stigma, and fear. They have called on the federal government and the courts to intervene and stop the policies from being implemented.

Dr. Michael Marshall, a pediatrician and the medical director of the Gender Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, said the policies are contrary to the best available evidence and the standards of care for transgender youth. He said the policies will have devastating consequences for the mental and physical health of transgender youth, and that they will increase the barriers and delays to accessing gender-affirming care.

Marni Panas, a transgender woman and a human rights advocate, said the policies are a form of state-sanctioned violence and abuse against transgender youth. She said the policies will erase and invalidate the identities of transgender youth, and that they will expose them to more bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

Panas said she hopes the federal government and the courts will act swiftly and decisively to stop the policies, and that she hopes Albertans will stand up and speak out against them. She also said she hopes Smith will listen to the voices and experiences of transgender youth and their families, and reconsider her policies.

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